The French “Qu’est-ce que tu deviens ?” is our way to ask “What have you been up to?”…

When you meet a friend, you can say “What’s up?”.

It’s clear and simple for a French, with the fascination we have for English’s conciseness : what is “up”, after all? 🙂

I think there’s a slightly different color in “What’s up with you?”, saying “What have you been up to?”, which is “How have you been busy these days?”. I’m good?

Well, we say in this case “What’s new?” : Quoi de neuf ?

After a long-time no-see, we often say : “Qu’est-ce que tu deviens ?“, which means “Who do you become?”, or “What are you turning into?“.

Yessss you see me coming, there’s a cultural difference here showing on the surface :

USA asks “What have you been up to?”, France asks “What are you turning into?”. One friend is asking about your actions, the other one is asking about your inner transformation. Isn’t it revealing? I don’t know, it makes me think, in any case…

 

Thanks for reading!

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One thought on “The French “Qu’est-ce que tu deviens ?” is our way to ask “What have you been up to?”…

  1. annetterallsblog August 14, 2017 / 7:39 am

    I find these little ways of speech in different languages intriguing. I recently moved to a different part of my country and had a double take the first time I offered a guest coffee. In English they would answer “Yes, please”with a slight nod of the head, or “No, thank you” with or without a slight shake of the head. Where I come from, in my home language,the response would be similar apart from some words added to the effect of “that would be nice” or such. A 1500km away the response in my home language for “no thank you” (and they all do this) is “ek is reg, dankie” (I am good, thanks) accompanied with a nod (and a big smile) on top of which they swallow the “ek” and it becomes “dis reg”(it is right/correct). Altogether giving the impression of “Yes, thank you”. What intrigues me is how this starts. I think it shows a lot about the type of people and especially the type of society. In the Netherlands especially I found that everybody uses the same stilted phrases for particular situations. Or even the same phrase for many different situations. They would e.g. say “wat leuk, seg” meaning “that’s nice” for a multitude of situations. In my language (Afrikaans) you would more likely find that people enjoy thinking of different ways to describe what they experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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